Not coaching sales reps is like putting low grade gasoline into a Porsche. It’s going to strain the engine, reduce performance and make it less economical to drive.
Coaching keeps sales reps tuned for performance. Their minds are set to win, their skills honed, and they are focused on executing your sales process. Essentially, not veering off track. It leads to strong, consistent sales. The kind that a growing business needs in order to scale.
However, to remain successful, sales managers need to spend at least half their time coaching. There’s just one problem: 97% don’t. To add to the conundrum, only 7% of sales managers have necessary skills to be an effective coach. Chances are, what coaching you’re doing (if any) is probably ineffective.
Now for the good news.
Implementing a performance coaching program for sales reps can have far-reaching gains for a company. “We’ve seen clients double their business,” says Mike Poledna, MyHubPartner’s CEO. “Performance coaching creates really effective people and top performing teams who celebrate success. It’s an important part of creating a winning culture.”
Top sales coaching methods
There’s more than one way to coach a sales team. Here are a few of the most effective:
Running simulations in groups or one-on-one will refine your team’s skills. It’s an excellent way to practice dealing with extreme situations and difficult prospects in a safe low-stakes environment. As Mike says: “it’s better to practice with your peers, than on your prospects”.
There are three types of dual calls you can make:
- Demonstration call: you demonstrate and the sales rep listens. You debrief together afterwards.
- Dual call: both you and your sales rep do part of the call—but make sure you’re clear on who is to do what!
- Observation call: your sales rep does it all, while you watch and listen. While it may be tempting to jump in, don’t.
Go out into the field with your salespeople and observe their meetings and presentations. Later debrief using some of the strategies below.
Pre-meeting and pre-call strategy
Performance coaching is also looking at individuals and getting them in the right frame of mind before a meeting or phone call. “Get them really clear on what success looks like, what their objectives are going into the meeting and anticipating the questions the client will ask,” advises Mike.
What were the wins? What were the learnings? What would we change for the next meeting or call?
The GROW model
GROW stands for:
- Goals: what were the goals?
- Reality: what’s the current reality? How are you tracking against your goal?
- Options: what are our options? How do we get things back on track?
- Way forward: what is the way forward? What are the next steps to take?
Tip: Apply your consultative selling skills to coaching
“Telling is not selling, but it is not coaching either,” says Mike. “A good coach should be able to ask good questions and not tell.” Just like consultative selling, a good sales coach will also use good questioning to get salespeople to reflect on their learning and make their own self-discoveries.